Pilot Identified In Fatal Small Plane Crash That Damaged Several Homes

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 29, 2019 - 7:39 pm

COLONIA, N.J. (WCBS 880) — A small plane crashed into the roof of a New Jersey home, killing the pilot and sparking a fire that damaged at least three homes.

A twin-engine Cessna 414 crashed into a home at 84 Berkley Ave. just minutes before 11 a.m. Tuesday. 

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Officials confirmed the pilot, identified as 74-year-old Dr. Michael Schloss, was the sole occupant and did not survive the crash.

He was a well known cardiologist, who lived and worked in Manhattan. He was also an avid pilot and supporter of the American AirPower Museum on Long Island where he flew Warbirds.

Dramatic video from a neighbor’s doorbell camera showed the plane seem to quickly lose altitude just moments before the crash.

When the plane struck the home, it was immediately engulfed in flames. WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports the upper portion of the two-story home was obliterated.

Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac rushed to the scene and told reporters that no one was inside the home at the time of the crash.

A woman in the neighboring home, which also sustained damaged, managed to escape without harm.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but officials speculated the weather could have played a factor. It was a gray, murky morning when the plane crash landed in the densely packed residential street.

"I had heard a plane kind of coming in low... and there was a real brief pause for about two seconds and then there was a massive boom that shook my whole house," said nearby resident Steven Smith.

"I came out, I thought it was just an unbelievable crash. I had no idea and I look and the house is in flames," said Jerry Barolino who lives two doors down fromt he crash scene.

The plane was flying from Virginia to Linden. The crash site is just a few short miles from Linden Airport. 

Gas has been turned off to four homes in the surrounding area. PSE&G has also turned off power to 400 homes in the area as a precaution.

The Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the scene during the afternoon to begin an investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate the cause of the crash.